Saturday, 31 May 2008

A One-Two Punch Against Turkish Denial

Turkish Ambassador to U.S. Nabi Sensoy

Turkish Ambassador Denies Blockade of Armenia

Action #1: Urge Your Rep. to Cosponsor the "End Turkey's Blockade of Armenia" Act (H.R. 6079)

End Turkey's Gag Rule on the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia

Action #2: Help Make Sure the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asks tough questions during the upcoming hearing

United Against Darfur Genocide: ANCA Welcomes Joint Statement by Presidential Candidates

WASHINGTON, DC - The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today applauded the unprecedented, bi-partisan joint statement issued by Presidential Candidates, Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL) expressing their collective commitment to ending the ongoing genocide in Darfur.

"After more than five years of genocide, the Sudanese government and its proxies continue to commit atrocities against civilians in Darfur. This is unacceptable to the American people and to the world community," noted Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama. "Today, we wish to make clear to the Sudanese government that on this moral issue of tremendous importance, there is no divide between us. We stand united and demand that the genocide and violence in Darfur be brought to an end and that the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] be fully implemented." The complete text of the joint statement can be viewed on the Save Darfur website at:

"A united stand on stopping the ongoing genocide in Darfur sends a powerful message to the al-Bashir government that ongoing atrocities against defenseless civilians is simply unacceptable," stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Only by speaking clearly and unequivocally on all genocides - from the Armenian Genocide, to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda and now Sudan - can we finally put an end to the cycle of genocide plaguing our world over the past century."

Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had condemned the Sudan genocide earlier this year in statements citing their support for passage of Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.106 / S.Res.106) pending in Congress.
Read More. . .


Economic News from Armenia

Looking Beyond Political Polarization: Armenia’s looming economic crisis

Commentary by Richard Giragosian
Special to ArmeniaNow
Published: 23 May, 2008

Even prior to Armenia’s recent post-election crisis, politics in Armenia have been marked by a pronounced polarization, largely defined by a division based on affiliations to a narrow set of political leaders and parties. For the past decade, this trend was manifested by a division between supporters of the ruling elite and a largely fractured and fragmented opposition.

In terms of national politics, neither camp demonstrated much more than a desire to simply attain or maintain power, offering little in terms of strategic vision or policy alternatives. At the same time, there has been an equally profound economic divide, driven by widening inequalities in wealth and income. But most importantly, it is the combination of this political polarization and economic division that has now resulted in deep fissures within Armenian society as a whole.

In terms of political polarization, Armenia remains challenged by a post-election crisis that has only widened since March. Against that backdrop, new president Serzh Sargsyan faces a serious “crisis of confidence” in an early and serious test of his new government.

A round of new cabinet appointments has produced no indication that new president’s hopes for an easing of tension have been realized. In fact, despite the obvious appeal of naming a non-partisan technocrat as premier, the appointment of former Armenian Central Bank Governor Tigran Sargsyan as the country’s new prime minister, the new government remains grounded in a coalition of power maintained by the retention of several former ministers and the reshuffling of several favorites of the former president.

There were exceptions, however, as the new ministers of economy and finance offer a sense of hope and fresh professionalism, bolstered by a degree of reliability and security with the naming of Seyran Ohanian, regarded as a career military officer, as the new defense minister. Yet overall, the lack of any significant or sweeping change in government personnel or policy has only fostered the perception that the Armenian authorities are either unable or unwilling to respond to the public’s demands for change.

And this perception that the authorities have ignored an imperative for change is especially dangerous since it is clear that the post-election crisis has demonstrated that a return to the pre-March political status quo is clearly out of the question. A related impediment is also rooted in the fact that both sides of the political divide, supporters of the government and opposition alike, are expecting some degree of change.

Yet even in the face of these political challenges and a crisis of confidence, the more serious threat to stability stems not from political polarization, but from mounting economic pressure. More specifically, with the new Armenian government weakened by internal discord and a lack of legitimacy, the onset of a new economic crisis represents one of the most significant threats
to security and stability in Armenia.

There are two elements of this looming economic crisis. First, as the new government seeks to
implement the next generation of economic reforms and trade liberalization, it must overcome
the accumulated burdens of entrenched corruption and increasingly serious budgetary constraints, exacerbated by deficiencies in the tax collection and customs systems.

Second, the government seems ill-prepared for the onset of the already pronounced rise i
n global food prices, which has already spread rapidly and broadly. The dramatic spike in food
prices has already sparked several incidents of serious socio-economic unrest in a wide range
of countries across several regions, from Africa to Asia. The impact of the price rises for basic
commodities and foodstuffs has fostered several Central Asian states to adopt new “food security” measures, including efforts to stockpile food supplies and prepare for the possible imposition of domestic price controls. Russia was also profoundly hit by the sharp spike in food prices, with a rate of increase roughly three times greater than that in the European Union.

For Armenia, the global crisis in food prices is no longer a possibility but a certainty. The only
reason that the impact has not yet been fully felt is because of the closed nature of several key
sectors of the economy and due to the market-distorting effects of the commodity-based cartels
that hold sway over much of Armenian imports and exports. And based on figures released by the World Bank and the UN last month, global price increases for food are likely to only continue, and even accelerate over the coming decade. But most threatening for Armenia, the coming food crisis will only exacerbate the existing socio-economic divide in the country, widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots in Armenia to dangerous levels.

The economic impact may also be much more serious than simply a dampening of Armenia’s
usual, but still inadequate double-digit economic growth, especially in light of recent warnings from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Armenia may need to tighten monetary policy significantly in light of rising global food and energy prices. Thus, it seems that even beyond the context of Armenia’s current political crisis, the new Armenian government faces an even more challenging economic crisis that is certain to impact the country in the coming months and that has sparked little concern and even less preparation by the Armenian authorities.


Government Vows To Curb Rising Inflation
By Shakeh Avoyan

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian on Thursday raised the alarm over rising inflation in Armenia and instructed the government to crack down on local companies abusing their de facto monopoly on imports of wheat and other basic foodstuffs.

According to official statistics, Armenian consumer prices rose by an average of 6 percent in the first four months of 2008, surpassing the government's full-year target of 4 percent. The government and the Central Bank of Armenia already failed to meet that target last year,
even if Armenia posted one of the lowest inflation rates in the former Soviet Union.

The consumer price index appears to have been primarily pushed up by the increased cost of key food products such as wheat, cooking oil and butter in world markets. Armenia is heavily reliant on imports of those products which have been monopolized by a handful of companies belonging to wealthy government-connected businessmen.

Echoing the opinion of many independent analysts, Sarkisian implied that the existence of those monopolies has been responsible for `very high' inflation in addition to global market trends. `Prices in the Republic of Armenia go up quite drastically but their subsequent decrease takes
place slowly,' he told a weekly meeting of his cabinet. `Unfortunately, we have been unable to restrain inflation without state intervention.'

In particular, Sarkisian pointed out that the international prices of wheat and rice have fallen significantly over the past four weeks after months of rapid rise. He said government bodies must now make sure that there are corresponding reductions in their retail prices in Armenia.

`The government will keep this issue at the center of its attention, and we will in the first instance investigate and inspect those companies where the price level does not reflect international trends,' Sarkisian told ministers. `Especially when it comes to those commodities that are fully or partly imported from international markets.' He said that should be done not only by the State Committee on the Protection of Economic Competition but also tax authorities.

The committee already stepped in earlier this month to limit the knock-on effects of a 50 percent surge in the price of Russian natural gas for Armenian households and corporate consumers. Gas is widely used, liquefied and pressurized forms, by public transportation means and personal cars. The few companies selling it in the local market are also owned by government-linked entrepreneurs.


News from Armenia

Karabakh war veterans' association under pressure after arrests.
By Diana Markosian in Yerevan

One of the lingering consequences of the political crisis in Armenia is that dozens of members of the influential veterans' group Yerkrapah remain in custody, creating a division between between the authorities and men who fought in the Nagorny Karabakh conflict.

The Yerkrapah members were among the opposition supporters detained during or after the March 1 violence that followed the country's disputed presidential election. Ten people died in the centre of Yerevan, eight of them opposition protestors and two law enforcement officers, and dozens of people were arrested.

Fifty-two people are still in custody charged with instigating violence, organising mass disorder in order to "overthrow the constitutional system", or illegal possession of weapons.

Yerkrapah, which in Armenian means "custodian of the land", is a union of volunteers who fought in the Nagorny Karabakh conflict. Founded during the war in 1993, the association supports veterans and their families and seeks to instil patriotic values in young people. It is estimated to have 27,000 or 28,000 members around the country.

Five of its members have so far been convicted by the courts, 24 remain under arrest and four are still wanted by the police.

Sixty-five-year-old Ashik Martirosian, who was decorated after being wounded in the Karabakh war, is one of a number of veterans from the Shirak region pressing for the release of their comrades.

"I am ready to give up all my medals to the institutions from which I received them - I'll give my presidential medal back to the president, and my government one back to the government," said Martirosian. "When our commanders are in prison, I am ashamed to hang these pieces of metal on my chest."

On May 29, Levon Ter-Petrosian, the opposition leader who lost the election, visited a 11 veterans staging a hunger strike at a monument to the Karabakh war dead on Yerevan's Erablu hill. He urged them to end their protest, but they refused.

The speaker of parliament, Tigran Torosian, denied that there was a concerted official campaign against Yerkrapah, saying that individuals were being punished for their actions.

"We must never do this [destroy Yerkrapah] - not today, tomorrow or in 100 years' time," said Torosian. "The fact that members of Yerkrapah have been arrested does not mean that they are being persecuted for belonging to Yerkrapah. The law-enforcement agencies are obliged to take into custody people who commit crimes, and extraneous circumstances are irrelevant. Our country will always need the Yerkrapah Union."

Yerkrapah used to be one of the most powerful groups in Armenia, with strong economic interests, widespread business ownership and ties with government. It was not formerly associated with the political opposition.

Its founder and honorary chairman was former defence minister and prime minister Vazgen Sarkisian. After Sarkisian was killed in the shootings in the Armenian parliament in Octobe
r 1999, Manvel Grigorian, a former deputy defence minister, took over as leader.

In the run-up to the presidential election in February, many of Yerkrapah's leaders began switching their allegiance from the official presidential candidate, then prime minister Serzh Sarkisian, to Ter-Petrosian, a former president of Armenia.

A week before polling day, member of parliament Myasnik Malkhasian, deputy leader of Yerkrapah, announced he was throwing his weight behind Ter-Petrosian, as did another leading member, deputy prosecutor Gagik Jhangirian.

Jhangirian was sacked from his job the same day for publicly interfering in politics. He was detained after the March 1 clashes, and accused of carrying a metal staff, and now faces charges of "usurping power" which could carry a prison sentence of ten or 15 years. This is the same charge brought against most of the opposition activists who were arrested.

After a month's enforced leave, deputy defence ministers Manvel Grigorian and Gagik Melkonian were also dismissed.

"I believe that the authorities are carrying out a pre-planned operation to destroy Yerkrapah as a structure, as a single force, as they see it as a danger," said one of the group's founders, former deputy defence minister Vahan Shirkhanian.

"Arresting dozens of Yerkrapah members, laying trumped-up charges against them, and forcing others to leave Yerkrapah is all in pursuit of the same goal - the ruin and destruction of Yerkapah."

Former defence minister Vagharshak Harutyunian said that the campaign against Yerkrapah
was "dangerous" for Armenia as it would lower morale in the military.

"The destruction of Yerkrapah does great harm to the whole of society, effectively destroying the idea of serving the country on a voluntary basis," said Harutyunian. "It has an effect both on the moral and psychological atmosphere in the country and on the Karabakh question. This policy will be felt in the military-political balance [with Azerbaijan] and will increase the risk of a resumption of war."

Some commentators, however, say Yerkrapah has exerted undue political influence.

"The Yerkrapah factor is activated from time to time," said former deputy speaker , Ara
Sahakian, a supporter of Ter-Petrosian.

"In 1998, Vazgen Sarkisian used massive manipulations [in the election] and the Yerkrapah
union was his support base. The very same Yerkrapah made [Robert] Kocharian president.
Now its role has substantially diminished and a new generation of politicians has appeared."

Political analyst David Petrosian said the veterans still constituted a powerful political force.

"In the current circumstances, it was a serious problem for our regime to have the kind of organisation you keep an eye on but can't control," he said. "At the end of 2007 or the beginning of 2008. it became clear that this organisation was not under control."


Diana Markosian is a journalist with A1+ television in Yerevan. Armenuhi Vardanian in
Gyumri contributed to this article.
Armenian Police Chief Sacked
By Emil Danielyan

President Serzh Sarkisian dismissed on Thursday the longtime chief of
the Armenian police, Lieutenant-General Hayk Harutiunian, and appointed
another career police officer in his place.

A statement by the presidential press service gave no reasons for the
decree that has been widely anticipated since Sarkisian took office on
April 9.

Harutiunian had been named chief of the national police in the wake of
the October 1999 armed attack on Armenia's parliament. His replacement,
Alik Sargsian, had held senior positions in the police departments of
Yerevan and the southern Ararat region before being appointed as
regional governor in 2000. Sargsian is reputed to be a figure close to
Hovik Abrahamian, the influential chief of the Armenian president's
staff who holds sway in Ararat.

Local commentators have suggested different reasons for the impending
change of police leadership. Some of them have speculated that Sarkisian
is keen to distance himself from key organizers of the suppression of
the post-election opposition demonstrations in Yerevan that left at
least ten people dead. Just last Tuesday he sacked another, even more
powerful, security official who also reportedly had a hand in the bloody

Grigori Sarkisian (no relation to Serzh) headed an agency responsible
for the security of the country's most high-ranking government
officials. He is believed to be one of former President Robert
Kocharian's most trusted associates. The two men jointly attended
official ceremonies marking Armenia's Republic Day on Wednesday.

Other commentators believe that the personnel changes are part of
President Sarkisian's efforts to cement his grip on power by getting rid
of key Kocharian loyalists. Reports in the Armenian press have claimed
that Kocharian disapproved and even tried to block the sackings.

Speaking to RFE/RL on Tuesday, Grigori Sarkisian denied any political
motives behind his dismissal.


2008-05-29 14:53:00

ArmInfo. Justice Minister of Armenia Gevorg Danielyan made a number
of remarks on the extraordinary report by Ombudsman Armen Haroutiunyn
on post-election processes in the country.

Thus, the minister remarked that the report does not mention its
specific legal basis. The minister said that in conformity with the Law
on Ombudsman the latter has a right to make an extraordinary report in
case of cross violation of human rights. In this connection, he was
to mention the specific ground for publication of the report. 'The
content and the scheme of the report aim to analyze the pre- and
post-election developments in Armenia. In the meanwhile, the analysis
of the presidential election cannot be a juridical basis for such
report since it is a topic for political research>, the minister
said. He believes the report 'overloaded' with discourses not within
competence of the human rights defender, in particular, the part in
the report that tries to explain the inexpediency of the criticism
at the first president Levon Ter-Petorsyan. 'To put it shortly, the
considerable part of the report is devoted to grounding the political
stance saying that 'the authorities chose the wrong and futureless
tactics in their campaign>>, G. Danielyan said.

To recall, Armenian Ombudsman Armen Harutiunyan came out with
a suggestion that an independent commission should be set up to
investigate the March 1 events.

On April 25, when presenting an extraordinary report on the situation
before and after presidential election in Armenia, Harutiunyan made a
number of proposals aimed to stabilize the domestic political state in
the country. In particular, he suggests that the Electoral Code should
be reformed: the system of formation of electoral commissions, count
of votes, etc. should be reconsidered. According to the Ombudsman,
it is necessary to take steps to consolidate freedom of speech. This
concerns creation of conditions for formation of pluralism and
objectivity of e-media, as well as equal participation of oppositional
and pro-governmental forces in the process of formation of bodies
regulating the activity of television and radio.

Harutyunyan said that the draft laws which ungroundedly restrict
human rights and freedoms (for instance, the recent amendments to
the RA Law on rallies, demonstrations and processions) should be
excluded. He also suggested setting up an independent commission
with international experts to investigate the March 1 events. He
pointed out the necessity of fight against the oligarchic system
of governing. Liquidation of monopolies will contribute to this,
he added. "The most dangerous and short-sighted thing in the current
situation is imitation of reforms", Harutyunyan said.


RIA Novosti
May 26 2008

YEREVAN, May 26 (RIA Novosti) - Authorities in southern Armenia have
opened a 5,000-year-old prehistoric monument dubbed "the Armenian
Stonehenge," but known locally as Carahunge, as a tourist site.

The monument, located some 200 km (124 miles) away from the capital,
Yerevan, consists of over 200 shaped stones, some bearing smooth angled
holes of 4 to 5cm in diameter, directed at different points at the sky.

"This territory will be developed for tourism," said Samvel Musoyan,
deputy chief of the Armenian culture ministry's department for
cultural heritage.

Funding has already been raised from the country's budget to develop
the tourist site, build a transparent wall around the monument and
for maintenance and security of the site.

Following excavation of the site, it is believed to have served
simultaneously as a temple of Ari, the ancient Armenian deity
of the sun, a university and an observatory. According to recent
archaeological findings, the site could be used to define the precise
name of sunrise and lunar phases and the day when a year began.

The fact that chips of transparent obsidian glass were found at the
site spawned the theory that the pre-historic dwellers, that inhabited
the region, placed them inside the holes for magnification.

Though some scientists believe that Carahunge was built some five
thousand years ago, Armenian scientists argue that it is 7,500
years old.

The more famous Stonehenge site located in the county of Wiltshire
in southwest England is at least 5,000 years old and was declared a
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

The structure comprises standing stones, believed to date back to
2200 B.C. which are surrounded by a circular earth mound and ditch
constructed some 1000 years earlier. Its original purpose is unclear,
but it is believed to have been used as a temple or an observatory.


Noyan Tapan
May 26, 2008

YEREVAN, MAY 26, NOYAN TAPAN. Russia has been recognized winner in
the Eurovision - 2008 international song contest, which was held
in Belgrad on May 24. The song "Believe" of Dima Bilan, in general,
gathered 272 points.

And that means that the authoritative international contest will be
held in Moscow next year. The representative of Greece took second
and that of the Ukraine third place in the contest.

Armenia, which was taking part in the contest for the third time, took
fourth place as a result of the voting of 43 counties, irrespective
of the fact that it periodically appeared in the third place during
the voting.

Sirusho's "Qele, Qele" song received the highest points: 12 points,
by Belgium, France, Poland, Czechia, Holland, Greece, Russia and
Georgia. Last year Armenia received 12 points only by Turkey and
Georgia. This year 10 points were given by Cyprus, Spain and Turkey,
8 points by Israel, Bulgaria and San Marino. 7 points were given to
Armenia by Belarus and the Ukraine, 6 points by Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Germany, 5 points by Serbia and Slovenia, 4 points by Romania, 2
points by Moldova, Albania and Sweden and 1 point by Macedonia and
Iceland. Most of the countries, who have voted for the "Qele, qele"
song, did not give any points to Armenia in the previous contests.

It should be mentioned that in 2006-2007 the representatives of
Armenia took 8th place.

The Accused


Rant Number 305 29 May 2008

The Accused

Jews sue God. No kidding. Lawyers for something called the Tribe of Abraham have filed suit against the Creator. In New York’s Southern District Court. Alleging breach of contract. 117 breaches, to be exact. Despite solemn promises in the Bible to his chosen people, God has failed to protect them. Damages? Of course. A mere 4.2 trillion dollars. Chickenfeed if you are the Lord of the World, surely…

There is something waggishly rabbinical about this wheeze. But it isn’t new. Martin Buber tells of a Habsburg emperor about to make an edict exacerbating the laws for the Jews. The religious student Feivel then goes up to Rabbi Elimelech. Trembling at his own hubris, he stammers: ‘Master, I wish to bring a suit against God.’ After Elimelech has summoned a tribunal, Feivel makes his case: ‘Why are we being persecuted? In the Law, God calls us His people. Yet we suffer. He should look after us, so we may serve Him.’

Before deliberating with his fellow judges, Elimelech states it is customary at this stage for both plaintiff and defendant to quit the court. And he intones: ‘We cannot ask You to withdraw, Lord of the Universe, as Your Majesty is everywhere. Without You, we would sink into nothingness. We will not, however, let you sway our judgment.’

Hours later, the rabbis tell Feivel their verdict. His claim is upheld. At that very moment the emperor cancels the edict.

Very heart-warming. Yet, the Tribe of Abraham’s action shocked one of my Muslim correspondents. He thought it impious. Or is the whole idea simply barmy? Let’s see.

The Bible calls God a king. Could a king be prosecuted by his own subjects? Not in today’s Britain. ‘The monarch can do no wrong’ is a principle in constitutional law. If Queen Elizabeth II smoked in the Ritz Hotel tea room, she could not be prosecuted under the smoking ban. Because all public prosecutions are brought in her name – Regina vs. Bloggs – and so the courts cannot try her – she would be prosecuting herself!

Civil lawsuits against the Crown are however possible. Under a 1947 Act. Not against the monarch herself though. Only against her government. Of course, God has not got a government. He rules and directs the entire cosmos off his own bat. That lets him off, I think.

(Parliament of course could strip the Queen of her prerogatives. Even abolish the monarchy and create a republic. The Nepalese have just done that. But the human analogy breaks down here. The ruler of the universe cannot be dismissed.)

Actually, an English king was once tried and beheaded by his own subjects. Charles II, in 1649, after the Civil War. But was it was done lawfully? Before the trial and during it Charles reminded his enemies that no law existed by which a king could be tried. ‘I would know by what power I am called hither…I would know by what authority, I mean lawful’, he demanded at his trial. The King compared his captors to ‘thieves and robbers by the highway’, bandits who can rob and murder but who have no legitimate right to do so.

Charles had a strong point. Cromwell and his followers could hardly square their prosecution with English Common Law, a law based on practice and precedent. No precedent existed in England for the trial of a king. And even if the Puritans had claimed that right in the name of Parliament, no House of Lords was present at the trial. In law, Charles was impregnable. But his judges charged him with making war on his own people. Rightly or wrongly, that cost him his head.

There is no precedent for trying the Creator, lunatic asylums apart. The poor priest knows nothing of rabbinical matters but he surmises that any body of divines could only draw its authority from divine law. Now, ancient Israel’s law was covenant law. A stipulation made between God and his chosen people. It meant the sacred nation was to live under God’s demand, within his covenant. It was Israel that was accountable to the Lord, not the other way round. Jewish kings were of course subject to God’s law. The Heavenly King was not. Because, the Torah being one of God’s attributes, like his power and his glory, he could not more be tried in his own religious courts than the Queen of England could in hers.

Thus far the legalities. But what about a purely ethical perspective? Maybe the Almighty could be arraigned before a moral tribunal. The Tribe of Abraham brigade instanced wrongs innocent Jews have suffered down the centuries. That cannot be gainsaid. Although the accused could invoke his crashing mega-power and thunder out to his chosen, as he did to Job: ‘Where were you when I laid out the foundations of the earth?’ But might does not equal right. God morally must do better than that.

The Bible teems with man’s infidelities. Again and again, the people play the harlot and forsake their part of the deal. We see God’s holy nation apostatising after foreign gods, committing injustice, oppressing the poor, etcetera. (Like the ‘Christian’ West today!) Counsel for the defence could easily exculpate his client by pointing out his children’s persistent breaches of covenant. That’s why they got it in the neck. It’s their fault. As you make your bed, so you must lie on it. Blame yourself, mate!

True but harsh. Here is another line. In Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard examines Abraham’s frightful paradox as set out in Genesis. God demands he sacrifices his son Isaac. The father of faith thus is caught between religion and ethics. Nothing can justify the murder of an innocent child. On the other hand, God’s commands command absolutely. The modern mind would say either Abraham must have got God’s command wrong or bite the bullet and opt for overriding an atrocious, immoral injunction. A British court of law would lock up Abraham and take Isaac into care. But what if even the most sacrosanct ethical rule admitted of exception? Couldn’t God, the source and ground of ethics, suspend any given law, if he chose? Kierkegaard darkly warns us: ‘When you subordinate God’s judgments to ethics, you kill Him in your own heart’.

Hmmm…terrifying, the priest admits it. May the Accused come up with something better, insh’allah.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli




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Gibrahayer - Wednesday May 28 – The official inauguration of the Armenian Genocide Monument in Phinikoudes, Larnaca, will take place today at 6:30 pm by His Excellency the President of the Cyprus Republic Demetris Christofias, where the first Armenian Genocide survivors landed.
A high-level delegation from the Armenian Republic will also be present.
Images on Gibrahayer dot com

All ARF ministers elected to the Bureau, to resign from Armenian Government

28 May 2008 - Yerevan - Yerkir) - Delegates from more than 30 countries participated in the ARF Dashnaktsoutiun congress held on May 21-26 in Armenia. The delegates discussed the party's activities for the past four years, and adopted resolutions for the four years to come. ARF Bureau representative Hrant Margarian spoke at a news conference held at the Christapor Mikayelian center on May 27.
He said the congress discussed thoroughly all the strategic Armenian issues. The congress elected the ARF Bureau, comprising 11 members: Hrant Margarian, Vahan Hovhannisian, Aghvan Vardanian, Davit Lokian, Levon Mkrtchian, Vigen Baghumian, Mkrtich Mkrtchian, Hakob Ter-Khachatrian, Vigen Hovsepian, Hayk Ohsakan, Mario Nalbandian.
"By electing the cabinet ministers to the Bureau, the congress surprised us," Margarian said, adding that the ministers will soon resign, and new ministers will be appointed. He said this was the ministers' decision. "Being a Bureau member is a higher position than that of a minister's, and they decided to resign to be able to fulfill their tasks in the Bureau," Margarian said.


(Omphalos tis gis) - The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, Dimitris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat reaffirmed last Friday their commitment to a bi-zonal bi-communal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
“This partnership will have a federal government with a single international personality, as well as a Turkish Cypriot constituent state and a Greek Cypriot constituent state which will be of equal status,'' they said in a joint statement.
However, they differed as to when direct talks on the Cyprus problem should start but decided they would come together again in the second half of June to make a new assessment.
The two men met for three hours at the residence of UN Permanent Representative Taye-Brook Zerihoun. By all accounts the meeting went well and the leaders appeared relaxed and comfortable in each other’s company. Zerihoun said it had been a fruitful and genuine discussion.
Asked by the press afterwards when the talks would start, Talat said: “This is a difficult question, actually. You know that we have different views on this issue, we continue to have our views on this matter, so we are going to make an assessment when we come together in the second half of June.”
When the leaders met on March 21, they had agreed to meet again three months from that date. The Turkish Cypriot side interpreted it as the start of negotiations on June 21, but Christofias has remained non-committal on a starting date, saying progress had been slow in the committees and groups.
“Today we decided that we are going to handle these problems and to push the representatives to work more intensively towards convergence and common positions,” Christofias told reporters after the meeting.
Zerihoun said the two leaders had instructed their representatives to examine the results of the technical committees within 15 days. They also decided to consider civilian and military confidence building measures and would pursue the opening of the Limnitis-Yesilirmak crossing point and others.
Questioned by reporters on whether the international identity of Cyprus would evolve from the Republic of Cyprus or from the idea of the birth of a new state, or virgin birth, as it is called, Christofias said: “I think that we have a common position, that it will be a United Federal Republic of Cyprus.”
Moreover, the Cyprus Mail reports that Talat’s representative Ozdil Nami told the paper later that he believed the discussions had taken place in an “extremely positive atmosphere” and that all sides were “very pleased” by the outcome of the meeting.
“For the first time in history, the two sides are speaking the same language, and it is this that pleases us the most,” he said.
Asked whether the Turkish Cypriot side was not concerned about the absence of a definite starting date for fully-fledged negotiations, he said he believed it would be possible to find “a convergence of views” by the second half of June - despite the fact that “the two sides might have different criteria for measuring whether or not progress had been made”.
“From our point of view, it is convergence that is needed,” he added.
As for whether a new partnership state would embody a continuation of the Cyprus Republic or the creation of a new political entity, as envisaged by the now-defunct Annan plan, Nami said, “Answers to questions like these will only come out of fully-fledged negotiations between the two leaders.”

To receive regular updates on developments on Cyprus, you can subscribe by sending an email to info at omphalostisgis dot com or by visiting the relative section in our website www dot gibrahayer dot com, under the newsletter section.


GIBRAHAYER e-magazine

Gibrahayer 19 May - Nicosia - The ARF Dashnaktsoutiun Cyprus Gomideh has announced a May 28 Grand Fiesta on the occasion of the rebirth of the Armenian nation by marking the 90th anniversary of Armenian independence with the participation of Armenian presidential candidate Vahan Hovhannessian and singers Karnig Sarkissian and his band as well as Sahag Sahagian (composer of Kedashen).
The celebrations will begin at PASYDY on Sunday 8 June at 6:30pm and will continue with a Banquet at The Holiday Inn at 8:30 pm with the participation of the Armenian popular singers.
The raffle of The Armenian National Committee of Cyprus - giving out three major prizes will take place during the Banquet.
The two events on the same day, are being organised by the ARF Dashnaktsoutiun Cyprus Gomideh and sister organisations AYMA/HMEM, Hamazkayin "Oshagan" Cyprus Chapter and The Armenian Relief Society (HOM) "Sosse" Cyprus Chapter.

through the eyes of LINDA AINTABLIAN

GIBRAHAYER e-magazineWhen - This Monday 2 June at 8:15 pm
What - Slide presentation & discussion on her recent trip to historic Armenia
Where - Utudjian Hall of The Armenian Prelature
Who - Linda Aintablian

Organised by: The Armenian National Committee of Cyprus


..there is always something new on Gibrahayer DOT com

  • Home Page - Sirousho fourth in Europe - Who voted for Armenia ?
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    Armenian National Congress or Armenian Jewish Congress?
  • Harut Sassounian's weekly section - Armenians Should Take 20 Million Offered by Turkey as Partial Payment
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Saturday 28 June from 8:30pm-12:30am

organised by the Youth Committee of the Armenian MP
Departure from Nicosia from The Armenian Prelature at 7:30pm
GIBRAHAYER e-magazine
Food, first drink and bus service. All inclusive 20 euros
Sign up until June 20, 2008 with
Araxi Chilingirian - 99541688 - Nicosia
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Armenian representative office - 22454540

Open invitation to all between the ages of 16-40

News in Brief by Sevag Devletian
  • The European Commission warned membership-hopeful Turkey not to slip back in its reform process, saying it could not afford another wasted year. Speaking in the Euro Parliament in Strasbourg, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said the EU executive body was concerned about the slow pace of reform in Turkey.
  • The District Administrative Court in Bulgaria's Danube city of Ruse rejected appeals against the declaration of the City Council recognising the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The Court ruling states that the declaration recognising the genocide over Armenians and Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire could not be disputed because it was not an administrative act, it was only declarative, and had no legal consequences.
  • A major step forward toward recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the UK was taken this week when the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland passed a motion calling on the UK government to recognise the Genocide. The Church followed the example of the Presbyterian Church of Wales which called on the UK government to recognise the Genocide in 2006, reports independent French correspondent Jean Eckian.
  • Turkey's policy toward the South Caucasus states bases on two principles: territorial integrity and neighbourly relations with all states of the region, a Turkish expert said. The Turkish government is willing to enjoy neighbourly relations not only with Georgia and Azerbaijan but also with Armenia,- head of the department of international relations at University of Economic and Technology, prof. Mustafa Aydin said in his remarks during Caucasus 2007 international conference in Yerevan.
  • The winner of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest was Russia's Dima Bilan, who won with his song "Believe," by receiving 272 points. Armenia came 4th with Sirusho's "Qele Qele" with 199 points receiving maximum (12 points) from Poland, Georgia, France, Greece, Russia, Belgium, Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Armenia also received the second highest points (10 points) from Turkey, Spain and Cyprus. Sirusho was given 8 points by San Marino, Bulgaria and Israel, 7 points by Ukraine and Belarus, 6 points by Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sports by Sevag Devletian
  • The Under-19 national team of Armenia suffered a 2-1 defeat from their Turkish coevals on Thursday in the opening match of a UEFA European Under-19 Championship Elite Round Group 7 tournament hosted in Armenia, May 22-27. Armenia’s U-19 team’s next opponents are Ukraine, followed by a game against reigning champions Spain.
  • Field Club Audi Tennis Championship: In a four hour marathon George Christodoulou defeated Edmond Aynedjian 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the under 12 singles event. All events at www dot cyprustennis dot com
  • The Romanian “Styaua” football club is ready to pay one million euros to “Polytechnic” (Timishora) for Artavazd Karamyan of the Armenian national team.
  • The International Boxing Tournament finished in the city of Valadolid in Spain. Five Armenian delegates were among those of 8 countries. Eduard Hambardzumian (64 kg)took first place. Hovhannes Danielian (48 kg) and Hrachia Javakhian (64 kg) took third place. The Armenian trio qualified for the Beijing Olympic Games.
  • The last Greco-Roman Wrestling Rating Tournament will start in the city of Novi Sad of Serbia on May 23. Karen Mnatsakanian (60kg), Arsen Julfalakian (74kg), Denis Forov (84 kg) and Arman Geghamian (96 kg) will be representing Armenia. The first three places awarded at the tournament will be given qualification for the Beijing Olympic Games.
  • An Armenian Professional Gross Master Rafayel Vahanian is participating in the Royal International Chess Tournament in Bazna, Romania on May 24.
  • At a prize giving ceremony at the Olympic House on May 19 Mano Kouyoumdjian was awarded a trophy for representing Cyprus in international Games, while Yano Kouyoumdjian received the trophy for "Best Youth Skier"
    GIBRAHAYER e-magazine

gibrahay calendar

  • Wednesday May 28 at 6:30 pm – Official inauguration of the Armenian Genocide Monument in Phinikoudes, Larnaca, by His Excellency the President of the Cyprus Republic Demetris Christofias. A high-level delegation from the Armenian Republic will also be present.
  • Friday 30 May at 7:30 pm - Commemoration of The Battle of Sardarabad and the Liberation of Artsakh at the Nor Serount Club in Nicosia.
  • Monday 2 June at 8:15 pm - Linda Aintablian talks about her trip to historic Armenia. A presentation with extensive video and picture coverage. Organised by The Armenian National Committee of Cyprus (Gibrosi Hay Tadi Hantsnakhoump) at The Utudjian Hall of The Armenian Prelature in Nicosia. Questions and discussion to follow.
  • Sunday 8 June at 6:30pm - May 28 Grand Fiesta on the occasion of the rebirth of the Armenian nation marking the 90th anniversary of Armenian independence with the participation of Armenian presidential candidate Vahan Hovhannessian and singers Karnig Sarkissian and his band as well as Sahag Sahagian (composer of Kedashen).
  • Sunday 8 June at 8:30pm - May 28 Banquet at Holiday Inn with the above participants. Both events are organised by the ARF Dashnaktsoutiun Cyprus Gomideh and sister organisations AYMA/HMEM, Hamazkayin "Oshagan" Cyprus Chapter and The Armenian Relief Society (HOM) "Sosse" Cyprus Chapter.
  • Thursday 19 June 2008 at 7:00 pm - Turkey, Armenia and the Defence of Free Expression: Participating: Fethiye Cetin, author of My Grandmother which describes her discovery of her Muslim grandmother's true Armenian Christian identity, translator and writer Maureen Freely, Armenian writer and filmmaker Nouritza Matossian, and Ragip Zarakolu, one of Turkey's best-known dissident publishers. The event will be chaired by Lisa Appignanesi, President of English PEN. This event is made possible through the generous support of Amnesty International. At Nash Room of The Institute of Contemporary Art - London.
  • Tuesday 24 June at 6:00 pm - Traditional reception to all Armenian graduates on the island at the residence of the Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian.
  • Saturday 28 June at 8:30 pm - Pancyprian Youth Boat Party organised by the Youth Committee of the Armenian MP. Departure from Nicosia from Armenian Prelature at 7:30 pm. Food, first drink and bus service. All inclusive 20 euros
    Sign up until June 20, 2008 with Araxi Chilingirian - 99541688 - Nicosia, Kevork Keoshkerian - 99817806 - Nicosia, Vani Bohdjalian - 99524746 - Larnaca, Diran Kassabian - 99246397 - Limassol. Open invitation to all between the ages of 16-40.
  • 16 July - 3 August - The Armenian Blue Cross of Macedonia and Thrace (Armenian Relief Society - HOM Greece) like every year is organising a Summer Camp for Armenian Youth. Participation is open for juniors between the ages of 8-16, and is set for 300 euros. Sign up with Armenian Relief Society "Sosse" Cyprus Chapter Committee members by June 28, by calling Lilly Hovsepian 99354552 and Isgo Guevherian 22494536. A special rate for 15 passengers has been arranged and will be given out on a first come, first serve basis
  • 13 - 27 July in Yerevan - Hamazkayin Forum for Armenian students will take place in Yerevan. Cyprus participants should contact Raffi Mahdessian on 99441588
  • 18 – 25 July in Aghavnatsor - "Hayasdanaknatsoutiun" - ARF Dashnaktsoutiun's Badanegan Panarmenian Summer Camp at Aghavnatsor Homes (55 km from Yerevan) Price 280 dollars. Eight-Day educational program filled with excursions, discussions, games. Open to youth from 14-18 years old. For additional information contact Levon Sarian on 99409988 – sarian at cytanet dot com dot cy.
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • Recent Armenian Elections attract external criticism

    Wednesday, 28 May, 2008
    U.S. Says Armenian Vote `Significantly Flawed'
    By Emil Danielyan

    The U.S. State Department has described Armenia's recent presidential
    election as `significantly flawed,' effectively distancing itself from
    the vote's largely positive assessment by Western observers.

    `The February 2008 presidential elections were significantly flawed,'
    the State Department said in its latest report detailing its efforts to
    promote democracy and human rights around the world.

    `Problems included favorable treatment of the government's candidate,
    instances of ballot stuffing, vote-buying, multiple voting, voter
    intimidation, violence against opposition commission members and
    proxies, and suspiciously high turnout figures,' added the report.

    In their preliminary report, the more than 300 observers representing
    the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament concluded
    that the February 19 election was held `mostly in accordance with'
    democratic standards.

    The State Department initially echoed this assessment, which gave a
    massive boost to the international legitimacy of Serzh Sarkisian's
    dispute election win. However, U.S. officials subsequently sounded more
    critical of the Armenian government's handling of the vote. In an early
    April interview with RFE/RL, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
    Matthew Bryza attributed this to `very serious problems' that emerged
    during vote recounts in some of Armenia's nearly 2,000 electoral

    Those problems were detailed in a follow-up report released by the OSCE
    observer mission in early March. The mission's final report is therefore
    expected to be less flattering for the authorities in Yerevan. But the
    latter hope that the observers will stand by their assertion that the
    presidential ballot was largely democratic.

    In its report, the State Department noted that the authorities used
    force to break up daily demonstrations staged by supporters of
    opposition candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian demanding a re-run of what they
    consider a fraudulent vote. `The state of emergency was lifted March 20,
    2008, but restrictions on civil liberties remain in force due to a
    strict new law on public gatherings, pressure on opposition media, and
    continuing arrests and intimidation of government opponents,' it said.

    The annual report also described the Armenian government's human rights
    record as `poor.' `Citizens were not able to freely change their
    government; authorities beat pretrial detainees; the National Security
    Service and the national police force acted with impunity; authorities
    engaged in arbitrary arrest and detention; courts remained subject to
    political pressure from the executive branch,' it said.


    Armenia Told To Do More To Comply With PACE Resolution
    By Ruzanna Khachatrian

    Officials from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE)
    believe that the Armenian authorities have so far failed to comply with
    its recent resolution that demanded an end to the post-election
    crackdown on the opposition, a senior Armenian lawmaker said on

    The issue was on the agenda of Tuesday's meeting in Ukraine's capital
    Kiev of a PACE commission monitoring member states' compliance with
    Council of Europe standards for democracy and human rights.

    According to David Harutiunian, head of the Armenian delegation at the
    Strasbourg-based assembly who attended the meeting, commission officials
    said the authorities in Yerevan should `intensify' their stated efforts
    to take steps stemming from the PACE resolution.

    The resolution adopted on April 17 demanded an `independent, transparent
    and credible inquiry' into the March 1 deadly clashes in Yerevan between
    security forces and opposition supporters and `the urgent release of the
    persons detained on seemingly artificial and politically motivated
    charges.' It also called for the repeal of serious restrictions on
    freedom of assembly imposed following the unrest.

    Some of those restrictions were scrapped by the Armenian parliament this
    month. The National Assembly is also expected to form an hoc commission
    that will investigate the March 1 deadly clashes. President Serzh
    Sarkisian and other senior officials present this as proof of their
    declared commitment to meeting the PACE demands backed by the European
    Union and the United States.

    However, only a handful of prominent oppositionists arrested in the
    crackdown have been released from jail so far. Dozens of others remain
    under arrest on coup charges. The office of opposition leader Levon
    Ter-Petrosian says the police continue to harass and detain his
    supporters across Armenia.

    Speaking to RFE/RL from Kiev, Harutiunian said monitoring commission
    members believe that the relevant steps taken by the Armenian
    authorities so far are `only the beginning' and can not satisfy the
    PACE. He said two members of the commission, Georges Colombier and John
    Prescott, will visit Armenia ahead of the PACE's next session due in
    late June to assess progress made towards the resolution's

    The PACE has warned that failure to comply with the document could lead
    to the suspension of the voting rights of its Armenian members.

    Armenia: 'few tangible results' on PACE demands so far, says Monitoring

    Strasbourg, 28.05.2008 - The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary
    Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), meeting in Kyiv on 26 and 27
    May 2008, welcomed the initiatives taken by the Armenian authorities to
    address the issues contained in Resolution 1609 (2008) on the
    functioning of democratic institutions in Armenia. However, it is
    concerned that, to date, these initiatives have led to only a few
    tangible results regarding compliance with the demands of the Assembly
    as set out in this Resolution.

    In Resolution 1609 (2008), the Assembly resolved to consider the
    possibility of suspending the voting rights of the Armenian delegation
    at the start of its June 2008 part-session unless considerable progress
    is made on the following requirements:

    * to revoke, in line with Venice Commission recommendations, the
    recently adopted amendments to the Law on Conducting Meetings,
    Assemblies, Rallies and Demonstrations;

    * to start an independent, transparent and credible inquiry into the
    events on 1 March 2008, as well as the circumstances that led to them;

    * to release the persons detained on seemingly artificial and
    politically motivated charges;
    * to initiate an open and serious dialogue between the political forces
    on the reforms demanded by the Assembly.

    The committee noted that the required changes to the Law on Conducting
    Meetings, Assemblies, Rallies and Demonstrations have been passed at
    first reading by the National Assembly of Armenia and expects them to be
    adopted and promulgated before the start of the June part-session of
    PACE. It welcomes the steps taken to initiate a dialogue on the reforms
    requested by the Assembly, most notably with respect to the electoral
    system and the status and rights of the opposition. It expresses the
    hope that those opposition leaders who to date have been reluctant to
    participate in this dialogue will now consider joining.

    That said, the committee is seriously concerned about the lack of any
    noticeable progress on the opening of an independent and credible
    enquiry. The format envisaged of a parliamentary ad hoc committee to
    carry out the inquiry into the events on, and leading to, 1 March will
    lack the requisite independence and credibility demanded by the
    Assembly, unless the participation of extra-parliamentary opposition,
    civil society and international experts is guaranteed. The committee
    also regrets that no progress has been made regarding the release of
    persons detained on seemingly artificial and politically motivated

    The committee is convinced that, although time is limited, it is still
    possible for the Armenian authorities to address the requirements of the
    Assembly in time for the visit of the co-rapporteurs of the committee in
    the week before the June part-session.

    Therefore, the committee instructed its Chair to ask on its behalf for a
    debate under urgent procedure during the June 2008 part-session of the
    Assembly if the co-rapporteurs, following their visit to Armenia on 16
    and 17 June, conclude that insufficient progress has been achieved by

    <> 1609 (2008)

    Press Release
    Parliamentary Assembly Communication Unit
    Ref: 382a08


    Turkey back to its old tricks, despite pressure from one region

    Today's Zaman
    May 26 2008

    Turkey will not open its border with neighboring Armenia, closed for more than a decade, unless Yerevan resolves its problems with Ankara and regional ally Azerbaijan, a government minister has said.

    Economy Minister Mehmet Å~^imÅ~_ek, while attending a meeting on regional development in the far eastern province of Igdır, located near the border with Armenia, said Turkey, with its large purchasing capacity of $950 billion, does not need economic ties with Armenia, emphasizing that Armenia should be the one to take steps to normalize its ties with Turkey. "We don't need them, they need us. Turkey wants good economic ties with its neighbors. If they see this fact and take a step toward us, we will take a step toward them," Å~^imÅ~_ek said.

    "We have no commercial or political dialogue with the Armenians due to the problems caused by them. Opening of the border gate is unfortunately not possible for the time being without Armenia resolving its problems with Azerbaijan and changing its stance toward Turkey," Å~^imÅ~_ek, who was accompanied by Rıza Nur Meral, chairman of the
    Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), and a 200-strong delegation of investors and businessmen, said late Saturday.

    Turkey severed its diplomatic ties and closed the border gate with landlocked Armenia in the last decade, following Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan. The Armenian occupation of the Azerbaijani territory has been maintained. Ankara
    also refuses to normalize its relations with Yerevan because Armenia seeks a worldwide recognition for claims that 1.5 million Armenians were subject to genocide at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire during World War I in eastern Anatolia and fails to declare that it
    has no territorial claims on eastern Anatolia despite Turkish demands to that effect.

    Hopes for reconciliation between the two countries resurfaced when President Abdullah Gul sent a congratulatory message to Serzh Sarkisian following his election to power in February. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan had also sent similar messages to their Armenian counterparts following the establishment of the new government in the neighboring country, expressing hopes for anew era that will contribute to regional peace, stability and welfare.

    But no visible progress has been achieved on the contentious issues. Armenia rejected a 2005 call from Turkey to jointly examine archives to find out what happened during World War I and Sarkisian vowed in April to step up efforts for international recognition of the genocide claims.
    [so Turkey DID receive Armenia's response despite numerous statements to the contrary!!]

    Å~^imÅ~_ek said trade with neighboring countries was vital for the economy of the border provinces and lamented that Igdır andneighboring Kars lagged behind compared to provinces l ocated on borders with other neighbors. He noted that the government would continue to channel funds to regional development projects, supporting particularly the agriculture and livestock sectors, and also emphasized that Mount Agrı (Ararat) could become a tourist attraction.


    Turkey: Eastern city desperately seeks investment, jobs
    Monday, May 26, 2008
    KARS - Turkish Daily News

    Problems stemming from Turkey's regional inequality and its troubled relations with Armenia were highlighted once again at a meeting in Kars Friday, 1,435 kilometers east of Istanbul and near the easternmost tip of the country.

    Garanti Bank, the Turkish lender co-owned by Dogus Holding and General Electric, organized its 52nd -Anatolia Conversations- in Kars. Friday's panel meeting was, in a sense, marked the reunification of Turkey's banking giant and one of the most impoverished cities of the country. Garanti reaped a net profit of YTL 2.4 billion ($1.92 billion) last year, marking the most successful results of its 61-year history. Meanwhile, the closure of the -East Gate- with Armenia in 1993 has rapidly impoverished Kars and the region. Per capita gross domestic product in east Anatolia last year was $4,570, while it was $14,500 in the Marmara region, which includes Istanbul.

    Reopening a local branch:
    Garanti had closed the only branch it had in Kars, a city of 90,000, back in 1992. The branch reopened last year and Ergun Özen, Garanti's general manager, apologized to Kars residents in his opening speech for being so late. Özen showed two paths for Kars: Tourism and stockbreeding, while underlining the bank's growing support for small and medium-sized
    enterprises (SMEs). Garanti has reached 1 million SME-customers, and is serving them with 1,677 specialized staff, he noted. Craftsmen, tradesmen and small-scale retailers are living through -a
    crisis worse than the one in 2001-02,- said Ali Güvensoy, president of the Kars Chamber of Trade and Industry. While his claim was disputed by another guest, Professor Asaf Savas Akat of Istanbul's Bilgi University, Güvensoy said they expect -more flexibility- from banks in credits. -Banks should not kick the person who has fallen into a swamp by refusing to give credit to
    them,- he said. The local industrialist also said the -Law of Incentives- has provided nothing to eastern cities, serving only to western ones such as Düzce. The government should take no tax from investments for two decades in regions such as Kars, Güvensoy suggested.

    Period of destruction:
    Saffet Özdemir, deputy mayor of the city, complained about the closure of state-owned facilities in the city. -The Milk Industry Enterprise, meat complexes, cement, feed and shoe factories were all closed down or sold, only to be also closed down later,- he said, referring to the privatization drive of the last few decades. -As a result, agriculture and stockbreeding came to a point of bankruptcy. Coupled with intense emigration from the city, Kars virtually became a city for sale,- Özdemir complained.
    The only chance for Kars was trade with Armenia, the vice mayor said, but with the closure of the border gate, -Kars was left to its fate.- But Özdemir abstained from openly criticizing the government policy against Armenia, claiming that policy is correct.

    The Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led mayorship of Kars had, in late 2004, launched a signature campaign with the demand that the border gate should be opened. The mayorship managed to collect nearly 50,000 signatures from the province.

    Rising tension:
    Tensions rose in the hall when Sevan Nisanyan, a Turkish Armenian and a well-known tourism writer and investor took the floor. The most feasible way to attract tourists to Kars is promoting Ani, the ancient capital of a
    medieval Armenian kingdom standing at the border with Armenia. But Turkey has -chosen to erase everything about Armenia and Armenians- from history, he said, giving the -shameful- sign at the entrance to the city. The sign, in an attempt to conceal the Armenian mark at the city, talks about -30 or so civilizations, some highly disputable, but not Armenians,- Nisanyan said, noting that even the name of the city has been changed to -Ani,- which means -memory- in Turkish. -You cannot promote things that you do not know, do not love and ignore,- Nisanyan said. These words drew harsh reaction from some listeners, a few of them members or local leaders of an ultra-right political party. Claiming that Nisanyan was -alleging genocide against Armenians,- these listeners refused to let the experienced tourism writer talk, but they retreated amid applause of support to Nisanyan from other listeners. Concluding his speech, Nisanyan said Ani could be as attractive as Ephesus or Cappadocia if politicians act wisely and -make peace with the past.-

    Global division:
    Professor Asaf Savas Akat, a renowned economist, meanwhile, talked on problems of global and local economies. The current global problem stems from the division between -those who consume without producing,- and those who -produce without consuming,- he argued, adding that the United States and the West in general belong to the first category, while countries such
    as China appear in the latter. Turkey was caught unprepared for such global turmoil, Akat said. -Even before these, Turkey's inflation was rising and growth slowing, while the national currency was overvalued and the current account deficit was dangerously high,- he noted. -Now, one cannot sustain the overvalued currency due to this high deficit, but on the other hand, one cannot let the
    economy slow down, due to high unemployment.- Looming political instability is adding to these problems, he added. Still, the country is far from a crisis, he argued, saying -a lot of good has been done for the last eight years.- Akat described Turkey as -a lame duck but strong economy,- drawing laughter from the crowd.


    RAG Mamoul (

    ADLP Leaders Meeting With Ambassador Tatoul Markarian

    Saro Naccashian Member of ADLP Central Committee



    Bedoutyoun Badjelou Marmach-ue

    BOSTON, U.S.A.

    Monday, 26 May 2008

    British-Armenian Relations

    Armenian Institute

    British-Armenian Relations

    Meet Her Majesty's Ambassador to Armenia

    Wednesday, 4 June 2008, 7.30 pm

    Armenian House, 25 Cheniston Gardens, London W8 6TG

    His Excellency Charles Lonsdale has been HM Ambassador to Armenia since January 2008. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1987 and has served in Vienna (1988-9), Budapest (1990-93) and Moscow (1998-2003), as well as a variety of positions in London.

    Members of the Armenian community are invited for a conversation with HM Ambassador on issues that are relevant to the development of dynamic relations between Britain and Armenia.


    The Armenian Institute is a London-based registered charity dedicated to making Armenian culture and history a living experience, through innovative programmes, educational resources, workshops, exhibits and performances. Its work is supported by friends, patrons and voluntary donations. For more information about the Armenian Institute or to find out about supporting the important work of the Institute, please visit our website at, contact us at or call 020 7978 9104.


    Dressing up propaganda as diplomacy

    Turkish Press
    May 22 2008

    Ankara, which offered to establish dialogue with the newly elected
    Armenian administration, is waiting for Yerevan`s reply.

    Turkey has extended its hand to Armenia in an effort to put an end
    to a dispute of 234 years between the two countries.

    President Abdullah Gul, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign
    Minister Ali Babacan congratulated Serzh Sargsyan upon his election
    as the president of Armenia and offered to "improve the relations"
    between the countries.

    [there seems to be a recurring problem in Turkey with the delivery of
    notes from Armenia. This has been responded to as has the proposal
    to have a joint historical commission. Or is it spun politics?]

    Extract from
    By Emre Uslu & öNder Aytac*
    Today's Zaman
    May 22 2008

    "Obama's position on the Armenian genocide issue seems to be
    a problematic one for Turkey. However, if Turkey were able to
    demonstrate its openness to solving this issue through dialogue
    -- i.e., establishing a commission for independent historians to
    investigate the issue objectively by examining international archives,
    including Ottoman, Russian, British and Dashnak archives in Boston --
    Obama would put pressure on the Armenian side to accept Turkey's offer
    as the first step of establishing dialogue between the two sides. Thus,
    what Turkey should do is to choose a way to demonstrate its openness to
    dialogue if the Armenian side accepts Turkey's offer to establish the
    commission of historians. On this matter, Professor Yusuf Halacoglu's
    recent statement of suggesting $20 million of financial help to open
    the Dashnak archive in Boston would be clear evidence of the Turkish
    authorities' openness to dialogue on this subject.

    * Emre Uslu is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah Middle
    East Center. Onder Aytac is an associate professor at Gazi University
    department of communications and works with the Security Studies
    Institute in Ankara.
    [why exclude the US and German archives? It's all posturing]

    United Press International UPI
    May 21 2008

    Turkey has offered $20 million to open an Armenian archive in the
    United States, claiming documents there will support its version of
    the 1915 massacre.

    Yusuf Halacoglu, head of the state-funded Turkish Historical Society,
    told Hurriyet the archive in Boston includes important documents on
    the events of 1915.

    Halacoglu said he had been told the archives cannot be opened because
    they need proper cataloging.

    "This would directly open a debate over the genocide claims," he
    said. "Armenians are aware of this and therefore they are doing their
    best not to sit at the table."

    Armenians and most non-Turkish scholars of the period say 1.5 million
    Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and generally label
    the deaths genocide -- a term the Turkish government disputes. The
    official Turkish version is that about 300,000 Armenians and 300,000
    Turks were killed in an Armenian bid for independence.

    About 50,000 Armenians remain in Turkey.
    [Yusuf Halacoglu is an empoyee of the Turkish government]

    Turkish Press
    May 21 2008

    WASHINGTON D.C. - The Turkish Ambassador in Washington D.C. has called
    on Armenians not to raise children with animosity.

    Speaking at a meeting hosted by the Potomac Institute for Policy
    Studies on "the Future of Turkey-U.S. Strategic Partnership", Nabi
    Sensoy said, "the draft resolution submitted to the U.S. Congress on
    the incidents of 1915 brought Turkey-U.S. relations to 'brink of a
    disaster'. We are pleased with leaving those days behind as a result
    of resolute attitude of U.S. administration and congressmen

    Sensoy reminded that Prime Minister Erdogan had called on Armenians
    to form a joint committee of historians to unveil the truth.

    "Turkey has opened its archives long ago. Armenians should do the
    same thing. We expect politicians in the United States and in other
    countries to let historians to deal with past events
    ," he said.

    "We should not raise our children with animosity. I grew up together
    with many Turkish citizens of Armenian descent. It was one of
    our Armenian neighbors who cried and mourned most when I lost my
    father. Enmity does not lead us to anywhere," he said.

    Denying accusations that Turkey imposed economic embargo on Armenia,
    Sensoy said that Turkey was the fifth biggest economic partner of
    Armenia and number of weekly flights between Turkey and Armenia
    reached four
    . [!!!!!!}

    "Everyone in Turkey condemned killing of journalist Hrant
    Dink. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest his
    assassination. It is not correct to claim that the Armenian issue was
    not discussed in Turkey. On the contrary, any opposition to state's
    views regarding the incidents of 1915 was banned in Armenia with an
    amendment to the penal code in October 2006." he said. [!!!!!!}

    Sensoy also criticized that the Armenian diaspora thwarted Armenian
    Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan's speech during his visit to Washington D.C.

    Referring to the other developments in the region, Sensoy said, "Like
    the international community, Turkey does not want to see Iran armed
    with nuclear weapons. However, we think that Iran should not be fully
    isolated by the international community. Instead, we should improve our
    relations with them and try to persuade them to change their policies."